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Fans of the television series The Great British Bake Off have long marveled at the skill contestants show during the dreaded "technical challenge" — for which they are given a basket with all the ingredients needed to make a highly unusual dish but a set of instructions that are often as vague as, "Bake until ready." Now a team of scientists at a pharmaceutical startup in South Africa is essentially confronting the same type of test — except the stakes are life and death.

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Many wealthy countries have vaccinated more than half of their populations. In Africa, just 5% of people have gotten the full dose. Advocates for greater access say a major reason is that African nations have to rely on manufacturers on other continents, where they have little clout. Now a pharmaceutical startup in South Africa has been enlisted in an effort to change that. NPR's Nurith Aizenman reports.

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Many wealthy countries have vaccinated more than half of their populations. In Africa, just 5% of people have gotten the full dose. Advocates for greater access say a major reason is that African nations have to rely on manufacturers on other continents, where they have little clout. Now a pharmaceutical startup in South Africa has been enlisted in an effort to change that. NPR's Nurith Aizenman reports.

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The idea that no U.S. military veterans should live on the streets of America is the rare cause that's popular across the political spectrum. And over the last decade, federal and local governments have been able to reduce the number of homeless veterans in the country by almost half. But as Anna Scott from member station KCRW reports, the problem is far from over.

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The pandemic is taking an uneven economic toll on Americans. Black and Latino families have taken the biggest hits. As NPR's Laurel Wamsley reports, many have seen their hard-won financial progress swept away.

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Basically no one picked the Chicago Sky to win the WNBA title when the playoffs started last month. The Sky barely broke even in the regular season, so they were a long shot, to say the least. But last night on ESPN, the Chicago Sky wrapped up a month of proving just about everyone wrong.

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Wildlife biologist Greg LeClair has been obsessed with amphibians since he was a kid, when one rainy day, a black and yellow spotted salamander stumbled into his driveway in Maine.

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Halloween is two weeks away, and some of our favorite trick-or-treaters already know exactly what they will be on the big day.

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: A dark ringmaster.

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When thinking about the trucking industry, the first thing that comes to mind about its drivers is that they tend to be older — industry experts say the average trucker is 54 years old. But given the nationwide truck driver shortage, that's now changing.

A high school in California is now training teens to enter the industry through its truck driving school program.

A veteran officer with the U.S. Capitol Police was arrested Friday for allegedly encouraging a suspect in the Jan. 6 Capitol riot to hide evidence of their involvement in the attack. He is facing two counts of obstruction of justice, and has been placed on administrative leave while the case is ongoing.

The officer, Michael Angelo Riley, has worked for the Capitol Police for nearly 25 years, the department told NPR, and most recently served as a technician with the K-9 unit.

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